When it comes to some items, like disposable containers, their toss away exterior may have an effect on whether or not they make it to the recycling bin.
One study published in the Journal of Consumer Research looked at what prompted consumers to throw away items or recycle them. It was found that the perception of usefulness may be correlated to whether or not an object is recycled.
The more worth something holds to the user, the more likely it is to be recycled.
In relation to everyday convenience products, this could offer some perspective into recycling behaviors and the underlying tendencies of what people do with their disposable packaging. Though obviously one person alone cannot tackle all of the waste that societies have collectively brought forth, we may forget how much of an impact doing a few seemingly small things can really have.
Here are a few common items and the effect that recycling just one of them will have.
Recycling just one plastic bottle saves enough energy to run a laptop for 2.5 hours or illuminate a 60-watt CFL lightbulb for 9.8 hours.
Turning in one of these is the same as lighting up a 60-watt CFL lightbulb for 8 hours or a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours. Additionally, recycling one glass container can power up a television for 20 minutes and run a computer for 30 minutes.
Glass is also easily reprocessed, and can go from the bin to back on the store shelf in as little as a month’s time.
If one plastic bag makes it through the recycling process, it has the same energy output as giving a 60-watt CFL lightbulb about 1.3 hours of use.
In 2011, millions of tons of plastic bags were tossed out and only around 11% in the U.S. were recycled.
Recycling an aluminum can is the same as providing enough electricity to power up a laptop for 5.2 hours. It is also the energy equivalent of running a television for 3 hours, or listening to an entire album on an iPod.
For another visual, think of it in the reverse; Not recycling one can is as wasteful as pouring out half of that can’s holding capacity in gasoline.
Though all of these items are easily recyclable, only about 34.7% of all household municipal waste was actually recycled in the U.S. in 2011.
Smart consumption in addition to recycling can make a world of difference.
Pass it around and remind others how much of an impact they can make by doing one basic thing.
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